According to the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production’s (MoDP) 2015-2016 yearbook, the Military Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (MVRDE) will develop a light armored vehicle for the Pakistan Army.
The military vehicle will be dubbed ‘Light Armed Vehicle Assault’ (LAVA). In addition to this assault vehicle, MVRDE has also being tasked to develop a medical recovery vehicle.
NIMR Automotive AJBAN 450
MVRDE specializes in a wide range of logistics and auxiliary support systems. Some prominent products from MVRDE include K-Loaders, armored vehicles launched bridges, mine dispensing systems, auxiliary power units, and simulators (for the al-Khalid main battle tank).
The Need for Light Armored Vehicles
Last November in Karachi, during Pakistan’s biennial defence exhibition, IDEAS, private auto-manufacturer Metal Engineering Works and its partner UROVESA offered Pakistan to acquire its VAMTAC ‘High Mobility Tactical Vehicle’.
It is clearly evident now that Pakistan is looking for a light armored military vehicle.
Paramount Group Marauder
Light armored utility vehicles are generally used for multi-purpose logistical scenarios. With ballistic protection, such vehicles can be used as armored personnel carriers. When accessorized with surface to air weapons or equipment, it works as a very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) system, a command vehicle, short-range radar, and anti-armor and anti-infantry fire support vehicle. Sometimes, these vehicles are configured for general transport as well as medical evacuation.
It is also possible that the MVRDE LAVA and the medical recovery vehicles could in fact be borne from the same platform.
Light Armored Vehicle Specifications
4×4 Light armoured vehicles have a total weight of around 9,000 to 12,000 kg and are powered by 300 to 350 hp engines. Independent suspension and central tire inflation systems are a common feature as well.
These vehicles can travel between 650-700 km while carrying nine to ten passengers. Some popular platforms are Nurol Makina NMS 4×4, Paramount Group Marauder, UROVESA VAMTAC, BMC Vuran 4×4 and NIMR Automotive AJBAN 450.
Nurol Makina NMS 4×4
Common armament options include 400mm cannons, externally mounted remote-controlled weapon stations for 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm guns, pedestal-mounted man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS). These can also be converted to self-propelled 120 mm mortar carriers.
Assumed Plans for MVRDE
Handing over the task to MVRDE is an indication that Pakistan does not want to acquire an over-the-shelf design through licensed manufacturing. It is, however, possible that MVRDE might get some foreign technical support for LAVA.
Considering the relations between Pakistan and Turkish defence industry, it is possible MVRDE might approach Otokar, BMC or Nurol Makina for technical assistance. Support from the Denel Group and Paramount Group from South Africa is on the table as well.
Besides the hull and the engine, overseas vendors might be interested in providing solutions for the chassis. For example, Timoney Technology markets itself as an expert in suspension and other areas to new vehicle designers. During the IDEX 2017 at Abu Dhabi, Timoney claims that its product range could reduce “timelines and development costs through the initial stages of new vehicle programmes by as much as 75% compared to traditional methods.”
BMC Vuran 4×4
Expected Use of LAVA
LAVA will not replace Pakistan’s current light utility vehicle fleet, like pickup trucks, at least not entirely. However, it would be a likely upgrade over the Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) Mohafiz, which is a lighter vehicle and is usually deployed to fulfill many roles which can be better performed with the LAVA.